The Provost

The provost guides the strategic academic vision for the university and oversees all academic matters and initiatives, and setting policy.

Azusa Pacific University’s interim provost, Stephen P. Johnson, DMA, enacts the mission of the university by holding the faculty in high esteem, elevating academic excellence, and ensuring the education of the whole student.

“We are working collaboratively to position APU to lead nationally in educating a diverse population of scholars grounded in the Christian faith by equipping students, supporting faculty and staff, and nurturing a community of academic and professional partners that evidences a Christian perspective of truth and life.”

Stephen P. Johnson, DMA

Johnson brings significant administrative effectiveness to this role. He has engaged in deep change management, working with faculty to review historic traditions in light of current cultural realities. He has charted collaborative pathways forward by navigating and reimagining academic content and program delivery, and he has worked to enhance student-centered education throughout his 17 years in academic leadership, curating an environment that inherently values all people and perspectives.

Before stepping into the provost role, Johnson was the founding dean of APU’s College of the Arts, which comprises the School of Music, the School of Visual and Performing Arts, and the Department of Communication Studies. Under his leadership, the College of the Arts introduced innovative degrees in animation, art education, digital media and communication, games and interactive media, music industry, strategic communication, and user experience design.

Johnson has worked to stabilize enrollment, nurture a collaborative faculty, build cross-disciplinary partnerships, and raise financial support for the school, raising more than $44 million throughout his career, including $12 million at APU for student scholarships, capital projects, and the endowment.

Before joining Azusa Pacific University, he was associate professor of theory and composition and dean of the School of Church Music at Southwestern Seminary. As a composer, his repertory includes numerous solo, chamber, and large ensemble works that have been performed in recitals, concerts, and festivals across the country, from Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center to 20th Century Studios.


  • DMA, Composition (Minors in Orchestration, Music History, and Choral Conducting), University of Southern California
  • MM, Composition, DePaul University
  • BM, Composition, Moody Bible Institute
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